Throughout my 30s, I spent my summers on the traveling music festival, Vans Warped Tour, working for a nonprofit. As one of a handful of Christians on the tour, there was quite a lot of stigma to overcome. To the dismay of many — Christian and non-Christian alike — I befriended members of the tour who worked for an entity that promoted Satanism and sold absurd amounts of t-shirts featuring pentagrams, upside-down crosses, and Baphomet. I would swing by their pop-up tent and chat, often laughing, and getting to know the stories of the men and women working there.
While speaking at a church one evening and recalling this moment, I heard audible gasps from a few members of the congregation. They were flabbergasted that I could befriend people with beliefs that were the very antithesis of mine. Afterward, a well-meaning woman approached me, genuinely curious about how I could put myself in such an environment that she deemed “evil.”
“Well, a few things,” I responded. “First, if you believe human beings are created in the image of God, the imago dei, then each of these men and women possesses infinite worth, as they carry the touch of the divine. Second, what if the next Saul of Tarsus, who becomes the Apostle Paul, is among them? And last, I take Jesus’s words to heart when he commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Do you?”
With these thoughts in mind, let’s consider the recent hoopla surrounding a gay pride flag being seen on the set of the Christian smash-hit TV series, The Chosen.
*Before we begin, a caveat. If you come into reading this essay thinking I’m going to dive into homosexuality and theology, you’re greatly mistaken. If you try to infer my own theological beliefs regarding the topic, you’ll likely be (very) wrong (for both sides of the aisle). My goal is to confront a system of beliefs that contradicts Jesus’ ministry and grace, which turns neighbor into enemy instead of friend. Now…