04 May 2009

A study in contrasts

The following describes the scene downtown near the Powell Street Cable Car turnaround (read: heavy pedestrian traffic) Saturday afternoon.

He: Jeans, dark jacket, tennis shoes.

Them: Neon yellow jackets and caps.

He: Silent.

Them: Megaphones.

He: Looked at with curiosity by passers-by, with a handful of people stopping every now and then. Or just ignored.

Them: Looked at with venom and animosity - yelled at, spat at, argued with, cussed out.

He: One man, one sign.

Them: Three people, many signs . . . and did I mention the megaphone?

He: Can usually be found on this spot all weekend - if not everyday.

Them: Newcomers, or perhaps a one-day-only type of thing.

He: On the sign, "JESUS LOVES YOU"

Them: On their signs and in their speech, "JESUS HATES YOU" and "YOU'RE GOING TO HELL" and "THE CITY IS GOING TO BURN BECAUSE OF FAGS LIKE YOU"

To him I said: "Thank you, brother, for speaking the truth faithfully. I appreciate you and you got it right, man. Jesus loves, not hates."

To them I said: Nothing. My anger was such that I couldn't even speak and was on the verge of tears. Who are these people to come into this city and fuel the flames of hate? Almost all of SF embraces the thought that "Christians" are hate-filled, judgmental, uncaring and stupid. WAY TO REINFORCE THAT STEREOTYPE, neon-yell0w-jacket-wearers-of-hate. The minority Christian community here spends a hell of a lot of time fighting this uphill battle - the battle of proving to the city that we do NOT practice hate, nor do we hate the city and the people in it. Au contraire - Jesus preached LOVE. LOVE thy neighbor as thyself. The greatest gift...to lay down one's life for one's friends. For God so LOVED the [entire] WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son . . .
I have lived here for 8 years, and I cannot tell you what a difficult battle it is to fight against those stereotypes of what a Christian is. Many times colleagues and friends will say to me - with honest shock - "Wait...you're a Christian? But you're so cool - and you don't hate me!"

NO, I don't hate you. I love you. I even love the people I bitch about - the Code Pinkers and the protesters blocking traffic (yet again) and the Muni drivers who cut me off. But I have NO tolerance for and I was full ofpassionate dislike hatred for the people wearing the yellow jackets with "Jesus hates you" written all over them. But what I hate even more is the fact that I couldn't get it under control enough to confront them on Saturday with a cool head.


Bag Blog said...

Christ is about love, mercy, forebearance, etc, Thank God. But He did hate some things too. Fortunately, we are to leave wrath and vengence to Him and walk in love towards one another.

Mezzo SF said...

Yes, He hated some *things,* but preached to love *people*.

'Hate the sin not the sinner' was NOT the approach the yellow-jacketed people were taking.