At least this week the sign is more what you’d expect a church sign to advertise. In my Christian upbringing there was always lots of talk of love every Sunday morning. Written prominently on the wall in the church were the words, God is Love.
For the most part, the version of Christianity I was raised in did promote love. We didn’t have pastors or priests that lectured you each Sunday, calling you sinners and making you feel bad. We certainly weren’t taught to hate other people because they were different.
A defining moment in my progression from Christian, to agnostic, to in-the-closet atheist, to out-of-the-closet atheist, came after I had already stopped going to church. During one visit to see my grandmother, she wanted me to join her at her church service. I reluctantly agreed, because I really did love my grandmother.
She attended a Baptist church, and I had to bite my tongue sitting through the service as the sermon touched on how homosexuality was a sin. I couldn’t understand how my grandmother, who had a gay son, could sit there and listen to that. She loved her son, as did the entire family. I remember him as a talented piano player, and a fun person to be around. It didn’t bother me the least that he had a boyfriend.
That was the last time I have set foot in a church other than for weddings. I still wasn’t ready to publicly declare that I was an atheist, but I had never felt so uncomfortable about religion as I did that day.
Here is the verse mentioned on this week’s sign, in context, from the NRSV Bible. (Depending on what webpage I look at it seems that Lutherans themselves can’t agree which version of the Bible to use, and some even use two versions. If you know what version St. Marks uses, let me know in the comments, and I’ll reference that version in future rebuttals.)
I Corinthians 13:4-7 (Of course, that’s pronounced One Corinthians, if you know more about the Bible the pope does.)
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable; it keeps no record of wrongs;
6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth.
7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Here are two other versions they may or may not use:
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.(NIV)
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. (ESV)
Let me repeat one part of that paragraph in big extra bold because Bramwell seems to have skipped over that part.
Love is not arrogant or rude.
This popped up in social media today, thought it was spot on.