My summer in Chicago with Cru has provided me many opportunities to have really cool conversations with people. At Ghirardelli where I work I have been able to talk with people from Albania, Macedonia, Turkey, Russia, and a half Eritrean, half Somalian girl born in Russia. I have a couple new Brazilian friends and have been able to talk to both an Egyptian Christian and an Egyptian Muslim. Two of the most interesting conversations I have had though were with a street preacher and an LGBT rights activist. On the Fourth of July there was a street preacher in Grant Park screaming messages of condemnation of America and those sitting in the park. I have always wanted to approach an street preacher to get inside their head and understand why they think they are effective, so my friend Evan and I went up to talk with her. We asked why she thought that screaming a message of condemnation was the best approach for spreading the gospel. I asked if she had ever been successful or had any meaningful conversations with anyone about Jesus. She wasn’t too happy. I wanted to hear her perspective but she had no desire to have a civil conversation. She had no interest in listening to our concerns with condemning street preaching and that I know no one who has come to faith in Christ in that way. After barely two minutes she said had to leave and continue preaching. (To be fair we did have a good conversation with a couple people who came up to her to support her.). About two weeks later I was asked by an LGBT rights activist on the street with the Human Rights Campaign if I was interested in talking to him. I listened as he explained how I could help him out. After he finished I declined and explained why I am here in Chicago for Summer Mission with Cru. I explained my view that same sex marriage is not a biblically viable option for sexuality, but that I am extremely sorry for any homophobia and hatred towards him (idk if he was gay or just an ally) or anyone else. I told him that I believe that those who are LGBT are inherently valuable and worth loving simply because they are made in the image of God. The level of appreciation he showed was amazing. I didn’t water down what the bible teaches about same sex relations, but I presented it with love. I regret not talking with him longer or sharing the gospel but it all just happened so fast. I just hope he feels loved.
These two conversations have really got me thinking about who is really open minded. I can’t judge all street preaching fundamentalists by one interaction (her theology seemed super sketchy too) but she was clearly not open to hearing my opinion. The LGBT activist on the other hand welcomed my opinion with gratitude. I am sure there are many angry intolerant LGBT activists, but it is completely unfair to paint the entire community in that way. I am sure there is such a thing as the homosexual agenda, though I hate that phrase, but we as Christians must not continue with cheap caricatures. I don’t know. Just some thoughts.