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Fighting Fire with Love

Monday, November 21st, 2011 by

Ali and I turned left, into a park on the urban college campus, and heard shouts coming from behind us. About a block down, there was a dense cluster of people with a handful of signs waving over the top. I didn’t get a long look, but words like “BEWARE” and “EVILUTION” jumped out at me. It wasn’t clear whether the fundamentalists were mostly yelling at the liberal college students or vice versa; one counterprotest sign, held between two of the others, said “STOP NOISE POLLUTION” with arrows pointing to each side.

We looked at each other.

“Want to go make out in front of them?” Ali asked.

I checked the time. “Yes,” I said, “but the tour’s about to start. Let’s see if they’re still here afterwards?”

She acquiesced, and we spent a couple of hours learning about one of the schools I might transfer to in the fall. When we got back, the signs were gone, and the crowd had thinned out. Just in case they were still packing up, we walked past where the group had been, swinging our arms together cheerfully as we’d been doing all afternoon.

Sure enough, a man hurried over to us. “Girls!” he called out. “Did you already receive a gospel tract today?”

We looked at each other, grinned, and shrugged. She grabbed my face and pulled it down to hers, and I wrapped my arms around her as we kissed passionately.

“Jesus Christ can forgive all your sins,” the man insisted.

Ali pulled away and looked at him. “Jesus loves me, and he loves you too,” she said with a smile. Before he could reply, I leaned down to kiss her again.

The man was undeterred, repeating his message with barely an altered word, then turned to me. “Jesus loves you–” he began.

“–not as much as I love my girlfriend,” I decided aloud, then gave her one last happy smooch. She slipped her hand back into mine as we walked away. “That’s my girl,” I murmured, and squeezed it. Ali beamed and leaned her head on my shoulder.

On the bus ride home, at my request, she told me about her personal history with faith–one which is necessarily interwoven with her coming out story. (It’s not mine to tell, but suffice it to say that it’s not the stereotypical tragic drama you might be imagining when I say “faith” and “coming out” in the same sentence.) I wanted to hear it because it’s part of someone who’s important to me, but I asked at that moment because of her response to the man who offered us the tracts. She wasn’t angry, nor defensive, nor interested in engaging on his terms. Her response to his distaste was acceptance–calmly fighting fire with love–and I was so damn proud of her for that.

2 Responses to “Fighting Fire with Love”

  1. Nentuaby says:

    I have nothing actually useful to say to that, but– :D

  2. Chris O'Sullivan says:

    Many Christians actually get the good ideas

    …and others carry signs and judge others.

    Ironically if the judge-mental ones would read up on Jesus he’s reported to have had a few words to say about folks claiming to speak for him. They weren’t very nice words.

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