I stood on the corner, silently, with a smile and a sign that read, “We choose LOVE.”
A man yelled at me, “Tell THAT to ISIS!”
A woman got in my face and told me I didn’t know the Bible.That I needed to learn about the wrath of God.
A man questioned my ordination. He told me he knew better and that I better go back and read my bible.
Another man, wearing a clergy collar, loudly explained to the teenagers with him that I wasn’t a real pastor; that I wasn’t a real Christian.
People chanted “U-S-A! U-S-A!” Then, “Build. That. Wall.”
I kept choosing love. I loved that man and that woman and those other men. I loved the teenagers who were there with a hate-filled pastor. I tried really hard to love that hate-filled pastor. (I’ll be honest, I stared him down a bit first.) I loved all the people who shook their heads at us. I loved the people taking our pictures, who told us they were going to mock us online. I loved the people screaming “ALL LIVES MATTER” without even recognizing the irony in their screaming. I loved the heck outta the kids there with their angry parents. I even loved the frat boy bros who walked by in seersucker herds giggling at us.
Because I chose love. Over and over again. Because love has chosen me.
We can talk about policy. We can talk about laws and budgets and agendas. We can disagree. And I think we can talk and disagree without hating each other. We can debate plans for our country without brewing fear and spewing hate.
I choose to be informed. I choose to respect my neighbors. I choose to lead with the love that has claimed me. I choose love.
I choose love.
I choose love…
(Erin Counihan first shared this story on Facebook after protesting at a political rally in St. Louis last Friday.)
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