A few weeks back I started down a rabbit trail. I spoke too quickly, and too briefly about this subject, and it caused a lot of drama on Facebook. Now, I'm at a good enough distance that I can speak from a better vantage point.
Before I talk any further about this I have to say that I am in no way affiliated with Westboro Baptist Church, other than the fact that I am a Christian who seeks a greater understanding of Jesus Christ.
I was watching videos on the internet, and I saw the following:
Everyone in America has seen the protest that these people have done, and know what kind of people they are. Given that this video is circa 2011, I'm sure that Westboro Baptist Church is synonymous with hate speech by this time.
Two minutes into this video I believe that everything is pretty normal. Shirley quotes some foundations of her doctrine, all of which can be referenced Biblically. Tyra rapid fires questions at Shirley as to display her many peculiar beliefs to here audience, and with that the heat in the room is created. The camera pans to a gay man in audience as he writhes.
I was offended by this video for many reasons, but the main reason that led me to today was this: This is how America has viewed Christianity; as a hate monger. And at the end of this interview no one accepts Jesus.
All the while, the truth that the Bible speaks was given.
I continued down the rabbit hole of Westboro Youtube Videos. The next video I watched is shown here:
Note that there are 4 videos in this series, and I would recommend watching all of them. I watched this during my lunch break, and subsequently was late getting back because I had to finish it. There are definitely some weird things here that anyone would find strange--But I don't believe they are "wrong" or "crazy".
I love Shirley's boldness; it shows in the entire lot of these people. At this point in the timeline many people have left her church, and her response is priceless: she flat out doesn't care, "Bye!".
Later that Night I found the next video that ultimately would bring me to my social media ruin:
The following is my post where I share the video:
If I could change anything about this statement, I would remove the words "spot on".
I also want to be clear (because I wasn't in the post) that though I said my beliefs had changed from what they were before, it didn't mean that my beliefs totally aligned with Woodsboro. Also, the "religious zealot" hashtag that accompanied this post was a wink to audience, and a bit of sarcasm; however, I want to show the points that I do directly agree with. They are as follows:
"...suddenly they don't know what the Bible says" [this is probably the main point]
"Do we need to discuss having sex in the park?" [Really, this part is just kind funny, I wonder what it would sound like on a loop]
"What about God hates workers of iniquity? What about these plain words of scripture?" [Here she quotes countless scriptures broadly, but it's mostly derived from Jesus in Matthew 7 saying, "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity". The word Iniquity means lawlessness. The law that Jesus is referring to here is the Torah, or the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Numbers).]
"These people are in a furry about 'God Hates'" [She quotes scripture powerfully whenever she talks about Malachi 2:17, speaking on the average person's response to her ministry.]
The connection she makes between Pompeii and Sodom really caught my attention. I can't say it's exactly solid yet (I would have to do more research), but I think she makes a great point.
At 19:00 she speaks of prophecy, and is pretty "spot on" ;) Anyone who subscribes to New World Order talk or Illuminati conspiracy would agree. Many people looked at George Bush as a Christian; It is my belief that no man with true Christian values would ever make it to office.
"This is the, 'I'm gonna get even with you up in here because you've been telling us these words that we hate.' Well go for it. Go for it. Because God know there isn't anything hidden." [Her boldness is awesome.]
"Don't try to trick people into obedience, just tell them the words plain and straight."
Whenever the questions start from the students the same type of cornering happens that I believe happened in the Tyra video. I believe everyone in the room hates Woodsboro, and honestly doesn't want to come to understanding of Shirley's truth. They want to ask questions that might pin Shirley down, and find a hole in logic. She doesn't back down from any questions, and answers firmly quickly, and doesn't give anyone time to snare her. Some would call that argumentative, but in "this" scenario, I call it seeing through bull shit. Her boldness is "spot on" to stand up to a group of secular college kids and not be shot down.
Other times in this video where I applaud her are as follows:
31:00 - 32:00 - 38:00 [Do what you got to do..] - 38:40 [You ignorance is no excuse... and how she explains herself]
"You should not be sensitive or thinned skinned about matters of your dying soul"
40:00 [I love their spell casting chants] - 43:00 - 45:00 - 46:44 - 52:00 [she stumbles and shows shame; that is part of repentance] - 57:30 [the people are more interested in mocking her to her face] - 58:50
After this, I posted some more videos that I watched that helped broaden my perspective of Woodboro:
These videos didn't get any comments like my first one did.
My journey of learning about Woodsboro ended with hearing Fred Phelps' son's testimony. It was a sad story. It was a sad story because he'd completely left from faith in Jesus Christ in the end.
These words from Timothy are definitely missing from the preaching of Westboro Baptist. I think that is very clear.
What I respect most about Woodsborow is that they believe so hard. They are not ashamed of what the Bible says, and they ingest it in raw form. It's taken me a few weeks to come to this conclusion; at first I wasn't sure how to formulate my thought, but I guess it can be summed up as follows:
I have a deep respect for Christian believers who are uncompromising of The Word, or The Bible, regardless of what others may think of them, and who demonstrate audacious faith.
That is something that is missing is modern Christianity, and something I seek to grow into.