Saw this article in an Auburn, California newspaper thanks to Todd Rhodes of Monday Morning Insight. What I saw made me sick. Pictured were a group of three protesters with picket signs -- the good old "Repent Ye" kind which have been so caricatured in the past.
What this lovely threesome were upset about was a new church in town who ran a promotion to give more than 200 people a discount on gas. Not even giving away gas, mind you. Giving a discount. I have a hunch these folks were upset about more than a lousy gas discount, but that's not the way it appeared to the average passerby or even most people picking up the newspaper. It looks like one church protesting another. This has all the witness potential of one believer suing another.
Of course the motive behind the protest is a belief that there is only one way to properly worship God -- their way. Unfortunately that motive clouds any valid argument they may have. Church marketing can be debated. The trend toward mega-churches and a lack of Biblical preaching can be discussed among Christians. But closed-minded public protests only make Christians look like idiots.
One of the most telling paragraphs is a paraphrase from one protester. Responding to a request to listen to the Sunday sermon from the new church, the 20 year old picket sign holder told the paper that he would listen to sermon but suspects the church is misleading people. In other words, he is protesting on an assumption! He doesn't even know what's going on at the new church -- he just "suspects". Perhaps someone should point out the 18th chapter of Matthew to this zealous protester.
It's a shame that some people wish to draw attention to themselves as the "true keepers of the faith." The picket signs are annoying enough -- trying to communicate the Gospel, but conveniently leaving out all that business about doing it with gentleness and respect. But to publically take another church to task over what they assume another church to be doing is inexcusable.
Oh, and one final irony... the protesters with the picket signs are members of a church called, The Church of the Divide.