Below is a letter that I put out on social media this morning after we discovered some graffiti on our campus. I wanted to share it with you in this edition of the Interpreter!
This morning when I arrived on campus, I was greeted by a series of less than pleasant scenes. As you can see in these photos, someone decided to write a few messages on our church buildings via graffiti. Needless to say, this is not how I was planning to start my day. I wasn’t quite sure what to think as I laid eyes on those spray-painted words. At some point, my thoughts were very practical. We need to file a police report. We need to look at our security camera footage. Things of that nature were obviously going through my head. However, as I was reading what was written on our church buildings, I, first and foremost, couldn’t help but think about the person (or people) who thought it was a good idea to write such hateful and angry rhetoric on our walls. I wonder, what experiences have they had with Christians in the past that led them to believe that, as they put it, “Christians are the problem”? Where have they had difficulties in their lives that leads to the thought that “God is Dead”? (There were seven or eight other sentences they wrote, but they are much better left unwritten).
Our buildings will be cleaned. By the end of the day, the graffiti will be gone and the walls will be cleaner than they were before. I don’t worry about the building. I worry about the human being(s) that feels such anger at God and other people that they decided to do this in the first place. While I know that they will probably not read this post, I want them to know a few things this morning. First, Jesus loves you. I know this sounds cliché, but it is really important that you know that fact. The good news of the Jesus movement is that at the heart of our story is the radical love of God for His creation, including people who write nasty things on church buildings. I know you are angry and I can only assume you have heard some false things about who God is and what God thinks about you. So, I want you know, more than anything else, that Jesus is pulling for you. God loves you, even if you think God is dead.
Second, I love you. The First Baptist Church of Augusta loves you. People make mistakes. God knows I do every single day. We have committed our lives to following the Crucified and Resurrected Christ, who has shown us the way of grace and forgiveness. He modeled for us the way of Love. So, on this day, we give that grace and love to you. No harm, no foul. I know you think we are part of the problem, but if you are willing to sit down and share a meal with us, I promise you will see us in a different light.
Again, I know you probably won’t read this letter, but if you do I would love to meet you. I would love to hear your story and share a meal at the table. I have this strange feeling that you might change your mind about Christians. Who knows, you might even decide to follow him yourself.