I don’t know if it was true the world over, or in North America, or even here in Canada, and you may or may not be glad to know that I’m not really tapped-into this world, but last Sunday was the day of the “Pride parade” in Winnipeg.

[For those who may not know what that phrase -- "Pride parade" -- refers to ... it's an annual event in which members of the "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, two-spirited, queer, and questioning" crowd display, in full-colour, who they think and believe they are, and who they want others to think and believe they are. For any more information than that, ask your pastor -- unless I happen to be your pastor, in which case, ask your doctor!]

For reasons of frugality – both in expense of time and money, we stopped subscribing to the seven-day-delivery of the local newspaper the Winnipeg Free Press. It’s been nearly a year now, and I still miss my morning paper with my first cup of coffee. (I still savor my first cup of coffee, though; I’m not THAT frugal! I also still get “The Weekender.”)

But for whatever reason, on my day off this past Monday, I bought a paper, brought it home, had another cup of coffee, and began to read. On page A1 was the ‘teaser’ for the coverage of the local “Pride parade,” referring the reader to page B1, where there was nearly a full-page of text and pictures concerning the event, which had been held on the just previous [Sun]day.

(See http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/showing-their-true-colours.html?viewAllComments=y.)

My initial reaction to coverage of the event was, impulsively, to fire off a letter to the editor of the Winnipeg Free Press.  Let’s just say this may not have been the first time that I’d had such a reaction. Truth be told, from time-to-time, my wife Shelly has had fitting occasion to say something to me like, “Settle down, Yosemite Sam!” (You know, the Looney Tunes “rootin’est tootin’est cowboy in these here parts!” with spurs, ten-gallon hat, and six-shooters ablazing.)

But painful and recurrent experience has taught me, finally, that my first impulse may not actually be the best, most godly, or most helpful response – especially now that I’m a pastor for these nearly twenty years.

So, in my wiser, more mature, more spiritually exemplary condition – thanks to the Lord Jesus’ work in me and my wife’s work on me, I didn’t fire off a letter to the editor of the Winnipeg Free Press on Monday. I sent it today …

“To the Editor:

(Re: ‘Showing their true colours,’ Carol Sanders, Winnipeg Free Press, Monday, June 6, 2011)

Jesus answered, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, except through Me” (John 14:6). We Biblical Christians are challenged and responsible to speak the Truth, as best we can understand Him, and to do so with both love for others and fidelity to Jesus.

Speaking the Truth in love and fidelity is not easy, nor should it be; and most reject Him.

My brothers and sisters in Christ frequently espouse the formulaic “Hate the sin; love the sinner.” But it doesn’t take a genius to conclude that, usually, we tend to hate the sinners, too, whichever sins and sinners we happen to focus on at that moment or season in time.

Homosexuals tend to be one of those groups that receive a good bit of our ‘loving’ ire, and I have been challenged at this point, myself. I had to overcome a visceral revulsion when it comes to relating on any substantial level with homosexuals, and especially male homosexuals.

This became particularly challenging, and urgent, when one of my brothers-in-law ‘came out’ in early 1995. So I write as one who knows and feels, personally, the challenge and discomfort of doing my best to live an authentic, Biblical, Christian life in such a way that can be described as ‘exemplary,’ among others who have significantly divergent views, and who are making choices that take them into territory that I cannot go and will not take my children.

From the start, ‘Showing their true colours’ seemed more of a promotional-piece than coverage of a ‘news’ event – namely, the annual “Pride parade” that occurred last Sunday.

Never mind my dissatisfaction with the event’s occurrence on the Christian day of worship. My strongest objection is to the patently promotional and demonstrably false statement that was the final paragraph: “The family-friendly event welcomed kids in strollers and little dogs on leashes. With the temperature hovering in the low teens, there were no scantily-clad drag queens and just one young woman wearing a bikini and rainbow body paint.”

On the same page, just to the right of this final paragraph, was a full-colour picture of a pair of drag queens, one of whom turned to the camera in an intentional display of as much skin and body hair as possible, given his pose and bikini-outfit, inside an open-front dress.

Whether other parents consider such an event to be appropriate for their children is not my business, necessarily. I would simply ask that the Winnipeg Free Press provide more factual and accurate reporting and less advocacy for this or any other ‘news’ event.  – Rev. Mark L. Wilcoxson, Senior Pastor, Bethesda Church, Winnipeg”

I want to be the type of Biblical Christian who makes a difference in the world around me, and who is part of – leading, even – a group of Biblical Christians who are making a difference in the world.

But in order to do this difference-making, we must be engaged in the world. Letters to the editor is just one way, among many, that we can be both engaging and engaged in our world.

[As I was typing my conclusory greeting (below), the editor's representative from the Winnipeg Free Press called to let me know that my letter is going into the paper "either tomorrow or Saturday." Pray for me ...!]


God’s grace and peace to you and yours from me and mine!


Pastor Mark