We recently learned that Westboro Baptist Church, the famously infamous "church", had added Hulen Street Church to its picketing schedule as they make a swing through Fort Worth - the same weekend as the Final Four and NASCAR both come to Tarrant County. Coincidence?
You may be wondering, "Why Hulen Street Church?" It may even cause you to question what it is we believe or what we are teaching that would motivate someone to picket our church.
Take a look at Hulen Street and what you will find is that we are a conservative, evangelical church that comes from the Baptist tradition. In fact, we continue to cooperate with the Southern Baptist Convention. We hold to the biblical definition of marriage and believe that homosexual behavior is as much a sin as the sins of lying, gossip, gluttony, lust, and the like.
Still confused as to how Hulen Street ended up in the crosshairs of Westboro? Have you ever heard the expression "blinded by hate"? I think it has been years since anyone associated with Westboro has seen the light of day.
It seems to me, the biggest different between Hulen Street and Westboro is in how we read Romans 2:4:
"Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"
At Hulen Street we believe that when it comes to repentance, kindness is always more effective than name-calling.
I can see what they are doing. I even understand it. They want their tactics and message to be so shocking, so offensive, that it will rouse people from their sin-induced trance and cause them to fall to their knees in broken repentance.
But Westboro has forgotten that offensive signs with repulsive messages will never be as outrageous or as shocking as God's patient, persistent offer of unexpected, undeserved grace. Here is the difference between Hulen Street Church and Westboro Baptist Church.
Westboro says, "God hates you." Hulen Street says, "God loves you."
Westboro says, "God rejects you." Hulen Street says, "God is wooing you."
Westboro says, "God despises you." Hulen Street says, "God died for you."
Does that mean Hulen Street does not talk about sin or treat it seriously? No, but it does mean that we are as honest about the ugliness of the sin in our own lives as we are about the sin in our world.
If what you have seen from Westboro Baptist Church in the past has made you angry, made you nauseous, or worse, made you believe this is what Christianity is about, I would invite you to Hulen Street this Sunday. I think you will be shocked at what you find.
Update: Westboro came and went, bringing a grand total of 5 protestors. The amount of people countering the protest almost doubled what Westboro brought.