Thursday, March 13, 2008

Roger

The New York Times article that I posted yesterday, concerning the tragic death of young Lawrence, has been weighing heavy on my heart. 


I keep asking myself the question; if I was in that 8th grade class at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard California, if had been in that computer lab on the morning of February 12 morning (excited by the buzz of Valentines day, and the candy which ensues, and even more excited for my fast approaching birthday), if I had been sitting near Lawrence when our classmate walked in the door wielding a gun, would I have stood up and taken the bullet?


I am reminded of a story Tony Campolo shares in a scene - which will forever be etched on my heart - from Lord Save Us From Your Followers. I found it online and would like to share it.


"There was a boy in our high school named Roger. He was gay. We knew about it. We spread the word on him, and we made his life miserable. When we passed him in the hall, we would call out his name in an effeminate manner. We gestured with our hands and made him the brunt of a lot of cheap jokes. On Fridays after PE class, we would go into the showers, but Roger never went in with us. He was afraid to, and for good reason. When we came out of the showers we would take our wet towels and whip them at his little naked body. We thought that was a fun thing to do.


I wasn't there the day they took Roger, dragged him into the shower room, and shoved him into the corner. Folded up in a fetal position, in the corner of that tile room, he cried as five guys urinated all over him.


That night Roger went home and he went to bed sometime around ten o'clock. They said it was about two o'clock the next morning when he got up and went down to the basement of his house - and hung himself. When they told me, I realized I wasn't a Christian. Oh, I believed all the right stuff. I was as theologically sound as any evangelical could expect to be. I knew what I was supposed to believe and I believed it intensely, but I hadn't surrendered to the Holy Spirit. I had not yet yielded myself and allowed God's Spirit to invade me and transform me into the kind of person I ought to be. If the Holy Spirit had been in me, I would have stood up for Roger.


When the guys came to make fun of him, I would have put one arm around Roger's shoulders and waved the guys off with the other and said, "Leave him alone. He's my friend. Don't mess with him." But I was afraid to be his friend. I was afraid to stand up for Roger, because I knew that if you stand up for somebody like Roger, people will begin to say nasty things about you too. And so I kept my distance, and I failed to be the loving person that Christ wanted me to be. The work of the Holy Spirit was not evident in my life. If it had been, Roger might be alive today."


This is an extract from

'Let Me Tell You A Story'

by Tony Campolo

1 comment:

Andy McCullough said...

Excellent...Convicting... Like the world is supposed to know we are Christians by our love..