He is my great nephew. He is bright, athletic and gifted. He recently graduated with high distinction from Chapel Hill and plans to enroll at Columbia Medical School in New York.

He is gay.

He is a Christian.

During his senior year in high school he was bullied by his “church” in a criminal manner. For “Jesus’ sake” they said…

You are disgusting!

You have a homosexual demon!

A pastor slapped him – screamed prayer in his face as they surrounded him in the back of the sanctuary after a service.

It all gained attention across the nation. My great nephew is seeking prosecution of this “church” to the fullest extent of the law as the trial begins this spring.

Yes, I disagree with my great nephew about a number of things. But he is my brother in Christ. He is family. I celebrate his right to have his convictions and to speak them and as a Christ-follower I stand against the bullies who would deny him this.

I will pray for them.

  • Bullying is a distinctive way of harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are in some way smaller, weaker, younger or in any way more vulnerable than the bully.
  • Bullying is a deliberate and repeated attempt to cause harm to others of lesser power or those who are different.
  • Bullying is a durable behavioral style, largely because bullies get what they want – at least at first.
  • Bullies couldn’t exist without victims, and they don’t pick on just anyone, those singled out lack assertiveness and radiate fear.
  • Bullies – no one likes them but no one likes a victim either.
  • Grown-up bullies wreak havoc in their relationships and in the workplace.

Folks – bullying is pervasive in our culture. The president of Wheaton College (the one in Massachusetts) calls it reckless incivility – a growing culture of harassment and rage. It is a toxic environment. Shouldn’t reasonable people be able to hold different opinions and be able to express their disagreements explaining their position? Isn’t this type of discourse essential for a democratic society and for the church? We can and must be able to express disagreements without resorting to personal attacks.

FREE FLOATING RAGE

BULLYING…

as someone has called it is leading to verbal and physical violence…

  • Children/Youth is grades K – 12 faced with bullying that marginalizes those who are different in some way
  • Years-long deadlock of partisan bickering in Washington
  • Conversations on talk radio and T.V. meant to silence dissent, to obliterate those with different opinions – driving people apart.

This is not God’s way. God’s way was clearly lived out in Jesus Christ – God with us. The only rage we see in His life is against sin and darkness. The only rage we see in His life is against the narrowness of the human heart to embrace the truth…

For God so loved the world…”

Sin – darkness – all that defied God’s Will tried to bully Him and at first it seemed to win. Yet He continued putting His arms around the leper, the harlot, the poor, the children – “the least, the last, the lost.” All those that the world and religion bullied.

Jesus stood up to the bully…

And in Jesus we can stand up to the bully in us and in the world around us!

God has shown you what is good and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8