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20 June 2006

Ralph Lauren Campolo

Like the folks over at Stupid Church People, Baptist Minister Tony Campolo is a person I hold in high regard. He's not afraid to talk about issues that the church is dangerously silent on, nor is he afraid to be on the supposed wrong (i.e. liberal) side of those issues. Several years ago he famously began sermons about poverty by saying, "I have three things I'd like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don't give a shit. What's worse is that you're more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night." It's hard not to like someone like that.

Tony, alongside his wife, Peggy, is also known for participating in public discussions about the place of gays and lesbians within both the church and society. Their views are very different on the subject. Tony's stance is a bit more conservative. He argues that homosexuality is a sin in practice (though not in orientation), but does not support the church's attempts to change homosexuals into straight people. Peggy, in contrast, argues that the church's traditional teaching on homosexuality is mistaken, much like the church's traditional teaching on slavery and the role of women was mistaken.

At any rate, Stupid Church People have posted a two part discussion between Tony and Peggy on the issue of homosexuality, from a recent meeting hosted by The Shepherd Initiative. You can download both parts here.

Here's a nice quote from Tony from the discussion:

My empathy for the suffering of gay and lesbian people came a hard way. I was in high school and there was a boy in our high school who was gay. We’ll call him Roger. We really made life difficult for Roger. A large city school, West Philadelphia High, we ridiculed him, we mocked him, we humiliated him in every way we knew how. On Fridays after PhysEd when we all went into the showers, Roger would never go in with us because he was afraid. When he did take his turn we waited for him and when he came out of the showers we had our wet towels ready and we would whip them at his little naked body and sting him. And we thought that was funny.

I wasn’t there the day they grabbed Roger and they took this screaming, naked little kid and shoved him into the corner of the shower. And as he screamed and cried, five guys urinated all over him. I wasn’t there when it happened. But he went home that night, went to bed I think at about 10 o’ clock. They say he got up at about 2 o’ clock in the morning, went down to the basement of his house, and he hung himself.

And I knew I wasn’t a Christian. Oh, I believed all the right things. I was orthodox. I was evangelical to the core. But I wasn’t a Christian, because if I had been a Christian I would have been his friend. I would have stood up for him and I would have defended him. And when they came to pick on him I would have said, “Lay off. This is Roger, my friend.” But I was afraid to be Roger’s friend because I knew what happened to people who were friends with those like Roger. I knew what would happen to me. I didn’t want them talking about me. If I was Roger’s friend they would talk about me.

I wish I could go back and relive that particular period of my life, because then I would know on that day that I stand for judgment, Jesus would say, “Blessed are ye, when they reviled you and when they said terrible things against you falsely, for my sake, because you loved the wrong people.”

Christianity at its best has always been about loving people that society says are the wrong people to love.

Comments on "Ralph Lauren Campolo"


Blogger Dan Trabue said ... (6/21/2006 09:40:00 AM) : 

Shit! You gotta love Campolo.


Blogger jasdye said ... (6/21/2006 12:13:00 PM) : 


i f***ing confer.

i think though, that i've heard that shit line a lot over the last couple years, so it doesn't have quite the same ring.

aww, shit.


Blogger Nicole said ... (6/23/2006 03:17:00 PM) : 

I have to say, WJ, reading your blog makes me love you more. ;) Happy Anniversary, a day late!


Blogger hipchickmamma said ... (6/23/2006 06:37:00 PM) : 

great post. i was pleasantly suprised when i heard campolo speak at our campus this spring. he was awesome.

i realized the other day something weird happened and you weren't on my list anymore...gotta rectify that. i've missed your blog!

yeah wasp jerky!


Blogger jvpastor said ... (6/28/2006 09:54:00 AM) : 

Glad your back to posting i have been on hiatus myself. This one was worth the wait. I really hate Christians!


Blogger Marcguyver said ... (6/30/2006 03:51:00 PM) : 

I've always thought the most dangerous thing about Campolo has been his 'spit' flying all over the place! Or is that sweat? Probably a mixture of both.

Well, he's right on the money here, that's for sure.

Whoa, wait a minute....
Wasp, I agree with you! :O)


Blogger Wasp Jerky said ... (7/03/2006 03:02:00 PM) : 

Well, he's right on the money here, that's for sure.

Whoa, wait a minute....
Wasp, I agree with you!

There is indeed a first time for everything. :)


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