Liberty students should use the Holi-gay craft fair as an opportunity to reach into the community.
With the Christmas season fast approaching, the city of Lynchburg is in full celebration mode.
Whether through tree lightings, parades or Christmas movie marathons, Lynchburg is taking every opportunity to embrace the holiday season. But one event in particular may leave some Liberty University students in a moral quandary: the Happy Holi-Gay Makers Fair.
The Lynchburg Diversity Center is hosting their first LGBTQ+ Artists Makers Fair Sunday, Dec. 2. The center is a local organization that, according to their website, “supports efforts to create a healthier society marked by permanent, positive changes in attitudes and behaviors toward the LGBTQ+ communities, and the ability of all LGBTQ+ individuals to realize their fullest potential.”
Here is where many Liberty students stop to think: do I attend an event that explicitly stands for something that goes against my faith?
Which is entirely the wrong question.
As Christians and as representatives of Liberty University, students ought to be asking this: how can I show the love of Jesus to people who might believe differently than I do?
Relationships between evangelical Christians and people who embrace an LGBTQ+ lifestyle are often strained, especially when it comes to the realm of the creative arts. Evangelical Christian wedding card designers in Arizona refused to make invitations for LGBTQ+ couples, and the case has recently gone to the Arizona Supreme Court, according to AZ Central.
But if Liberty students plan to be “champions for Christ”, first they need to practice loving like Jesus loved. And that includes stepping outside of the Liberty bubble.
Mark 16:15 says, “And he (Jesus) said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.’”
Christians are not supposed to stay in their comfortable religious circles with their comfortable religious friends and ignore the world around them. You cannot show someone the love of Christ without investing in the lives of those around you, like-minded or not.Attending an event like the Holi-Gay Maker’s Fair is not an endorsement of homosexuality or a negation of your faith. It can be an opportunity to show the love of Jesus and start a dialogue with people who might not ever walk into a church of their own accord.
Liberty students are supposed to emulate the example of Jesus. But Jesus did not confine his ministry to people who already believed what he was teaching.
This is not about trying to ‘convert’ people. This is not about trying to evangelize at an LGBTQ+ event. This is about forming relationships with the community right in front of our school.
Lynchburg is right in Liberty’s backyard, and LU students have the opportunity to make an impact. They have an opportunity to show people what true Christians act like – Christians who know how to love people, even if, maybe especially if, those people disagree with their beliefs.
When Jesus was confronted about the greatest commandments in the book of Mark, he said that the greatest commandment was to love God. But in Mark 12:31, he makes his next point: “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
It’s pretty simple; love God and love your neighbor. Not love your heterosexual neighbor. Not love your Christian neighbor. Love your neighbor – no adjectives, caveats or exceptions.
And no neighbor is closer in proximity to Liberty University than the citizens of Lynchburg.