The Kingdom of God is Like a Maroon Wall

“Everything is a parable that God is speaking to us,
the art of life is to get the message.” — Malcolm Muggeridge [paraphrased]

I’ve never thought much of Westboro Baptist Church [WBC]. As a matter of fact, I find it pretty offensive that they are even allowed to call themselves a church. They’re a hate-group. They don’t spread anything that could be construed as the gospel in any way, shape, or form. And I will verbally accost anyone who says otherwise. Sorry. I just don’t like them.

When I hear of them picketing the funerals of soldiers or picketing Death Cab for Cutie concerts because the lead singer’s sister is a lesbian and “proud sinner”, it makes me want to punch something. So when people peacefully stand up to them, it not only makes me happy, but also proves that they are far better, more gracious people than I am.

This happened last week down in Texas.

Apparently WBC makes a habit of protesting soldier’s funerals because they are fighting for a “fag nation” that would dare allow some states to kind of give the GLBTQ community some rights [that last sentence should be read with crescendoing sarcasm]. They were going to picket a soldier’s funeral down in College Station — home of the Texas A&M Aggies. The soldier was an alumnus and was being honored in that community.

WBC wanted to protest.

The community said otherwise.

Over 650 people showed up to build a human wall (the #MaroonWall, since the prominent Aggie color is maroon) to keep the protestors away from the church where the funeral was happening.

I know we’d be hard-pressed to find any kind of self-respecting church that would defend what WBC does. But I think that this is what the kingdom of God is like in our world. When the dignity of someone or their family is being denied or dishonored, and someone — anyone — stands up against that force, I believe the kingdom of God is being revealed.

Sadly, sometimes the kingdom of God has to protect itself from the church.

Jesus always spoke in parables. For major chunks of all four gospels, all we hear is that the kingdom of God is like this or the kingdom of God is like that. Sometimes they can be fairly obtuse. The thing about parables is that they can be hard to pin down to create meaning out of it. This one is pretty easy.

The kingdom of God is like a maroon wall.

Cheers,
Eric

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Comments

  1. Well said. Love the story. Love the meaning behind the wall. I’m glad people are peacefully standing up to WBC now. It seemed like they were making all their income from lawsuits against people who forcefully retaliated, claiming they were the victims. It is a dear shame the the name of God is misrepresented in such a public and hurtful way. But, its a dear pride we all have when we get to see Jesus take shape of a maroon wall.

    • Thanks, Ralph. When I was working at a church up in Fargo, some people from Westboro were out protesting the Episcopal church across our parking lot because they started ordaining gay and lesbian people. This was while we had our confirmation kids — 6th, 7th, & 8th graders — coming in for their time in church. The signs and the things they were saying were despicable. Took all the restraint God could give me not to go out and become another lawsuit. But I’m also thankful that Jesus can, like you say, take the shape of a maroon wall.

  2. Thanks for raising the story Eric. It’s funny when conservative extremist groups attack soldiers….means that hate goes way beyond any political/social divides. It’s an issue of humanity….and like you said, the Kingdom of God breaking into it.

    • Thanks for your comment, Aaron. And I think you’re exactly right. When I saw that this group started protesting soldiers, my mind had to do some gymnastics to wrap around that idea. It seems dissonant with the binary we construct around liberal/conservative, democrat/republican, etc. One thing that encourages me in this, is that the country isn’t nearly as divided about Westboro as it is about a lot of other issues. And like you say, it’s definitely a humanity thing.

    • Also, Aaron, here’s a great article about a biker gang that does this — if you ever wanted to get involved in the biker gang crowd 🙂 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/29/nyregion/29patriot.html

  3. teubysthoughts says:

    Eric,

    Do you by any chance know where you can buy one of those “None of Us are as strong as All of Us” t-shirts?

    Thanks!

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