I WISHED A HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY RADICAL, LEFT-WING, COMMUNIST, QUEER ACTIVIST, 30-year-old Facebook friend whose nom de plume is Cher Guevara. He would add this to his description: He would add this to his description: “anarcho-syndicalist, gender non-conforming, poet, journalist, performance artist, actor.”
We have had many spirited yet respectful conversations over the past few years. He knows where I stand on the issues and I know where he’s coming from. We have a lot of fun discussing the various social, political and religious topics that make their way onto social media. Even though his viewpoints are always completely off-the-wall and 100% wrong, I’m glad to have him as my friend.
He asked me some questions a while ago about who I am and why I held particular views; here is how I answered him:
“I am a Christian pastor. I love people and am not threatened in any way with your views. I appreciate your opinions and am thankful that we have free speech in America and that you are willing to exercise it boldly, proudly!
“Because of your free speech rights, I have them, too. You have the right to influence whomever you want, whomever will listen to you. I listen, too, respectfully, and have no problem calling you out on the errors of your ways, of which there are many. (Of course, you do the same thing for me, of which I’m very appreciative.) I am writing this in the hope that you will see a different side to “Right Wing Christian Fundamentalism.” I put that description in quotes because I don’t view myself in that way; I simply see myself as a follower of Jesus. I not only believe in Him, I tell others about him and attempt to do what he says through His Word, the Bible.
“I enjoy our spirited discussions and hope that one day, you, too, will come to know Jesus like I did when I held nearly similar perspectives nearly thirty years ago. Perhaps, someday, we can take our viewpoints ‘on the road’ so that others may see that people can have opposing opinions and still respect and—dare I say?—love one another.”
I must ask you, fellow believer: Are you threatened by those who differ from you politically, socially, religiously, even sexually? Don’t be. There is only one thing that matters, only one person who matters: Jesus.
Stand for him. Speak for him. Fight for him…yet represent him accurately. Be different from the clamoring hordes who shame the name of Christ by their bile, invective and decidedly unChrist-like behavior.
In other words, be nice.
And always remember this: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” (1 Peter 3:15-16)
Easier read than done. Still, just do it.
I told my queer activist, Communist, anarcho-syndicalist, gender non-conforming, poet, journalist, performance artist, actor friend that the name of our would-be road show should be called “Cher and the Normal Guy.”