Of Connection and Commandment

“A new command I give you: Love one another; as I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

That’s how Jesus sums up his message to his disciples in John 13:34. But sometimes it’s unclear how to best live out that love.

I was contacted today by Mary Jacobs, who works for the United Methodist Reporter in Dallas, TX. It seems that the Westboro Baptist “church” plans to visit Dallas soon and picket at some public places, including the Holocaust memorial. As I had done last fall, Mary is wrestling with what a loving and compassionate response might be in solidarity with her friends who may become targets of hatespeech and picketing, but not wanting to give attention and fuel to the nastiness that is the WBC. We chatted today and I shared with her some of my own struggle when the same group came to Montpelier, and how I ultimately decided to make a personal appearance in the counter-protest movement in addition to my “professional” response as a member of the local clergy community.

Mary’s blog post highlights her wrestling and some of our conversation. It was a blessing to talk across the Methodist connection about these things and my prayers go out to her and the Dallas community as they discern how best to live the command and challenge to love in the face of all else.

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