Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Living with Koreans (Part 147)

This Sunday, as I sat waiting for folks to show up for Bible Study, I looked out of the parlor door and watched as an older Korean gentleman bustled down the stairs to the primary church entrance.  Under his arm was a small stack of signs, signs which up until a few moments before had been strategically placed on the sight-lines of the main hallway of the church.  They said, among other things, "God is Love," and "Love Your Enemy."

These were signs I'd originally had made when Westboro Baptist came to do their subversive Christian performance art hate thing outside the local high school.   I figured, why not use this as an opportunity to reach out to young people with the real Gospel?  I did, and for a glorious moment a crowd of kids I didn't even know were holding up the essence of the Gospel as they chanted in response to the Phelps clan.

After the event, I brought the signage back to church and mounted 'em up on the walls, as a reminder to folks here that Jesus would have us be excellent to one another. 

The gentleman bustled out the doors with the signs, and then stuffed them in between two trash cans for disposal.  I felt uncertain why these little bits of Jesus teaching might need to be removed from the walls and discarded.  Perhaps the assumption was made that the pastor who he'd recently sued and driven from his church had put them up, or that no-one cared.  Hard to tell if you don't ask.

I moved swiftly and deliberately to the door, arriving as he was reaching it to come back in.

"Those are my signs," I said, firmly but without affect, smiling with my mouth only and bowing very slightly at the waist.  "I made them," I said, my gaze unblinking, eyes not moving from his, a half-smile still on my lips.  "I would prefer it if they were not thrown away."  I showed no overt aggression.  Just politeness and firmness of intent.

His response was to look like he'd been stabbed and/or seen a ghost.   An apology was stammered out, as he realized that his assumptions weren't correct.

"That's alright," I said, not entirely convincingly on purpose, as I retrieved them.  I softened my tone.  "I can just put them back up again."  He bustled off, still apologizing.

Sigh.  If only he'd asked around first.  Attending to communication just makes life so much easier.