One of the most interesting moments of our entire trip to London was visiting Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park.Hubby had left me alone there while he tried to rent us some bikes (see previous post if you are curious as to how that turned out.)
While I waited for him, I wandered through the crowds of people heckling five different speakers. The first "speaker" wasn't actually speaking. She was sitting in a folding chair reading her Bible. Behind her were signs that said things like "The Messiah has already come" and "Jesus is Lord". She didn't actually have anyone around her, but she didn't really seem to care. She was letting her signs do the talking.
The second speaker was also a woman. She was actually an older woman, grey hair, bun on top of her head, almost mennonite looking. She had a tight crowd of people around her. I couldn't actually hear what she was talking about, but what ever it was, she had some very intense responses happening just inches from her face. I was feeling a bit bad for her, but she didn't seem to mind.
The third one was a man and he was loud. I arrived just in time to hear him answer the question "Does God hate homosexuals?" with a very loud "Yes!". And I, little timid Linda, responded with an astounded "No, he doesn't!" the man and I argued back and forth for a few minutes with a few comments tossed in from the crowd. I asked him to show me where it said that in the Bible and he responded with the fact that children are a blessing from the Lord. I agreed with that. And then I waited. Then he said that it takes a man and woman to make a child. I agreed with that. and then he said that proved that God hated homosexuals. hmmmm. We tossed around the phrase "love the sinner, hate the sin", but I wasn't really getting anywhere. So I moved on to the next speaker.
This is the speaker that affected me the most, but I'm not sure I can write down the conversation because it was even confusing while I was there. The man was a Messianic Jew. He was accusing everyone around him of everything that he could think of. I finally just asked him why he was doing that, and did he really think he was going to change anybody's mind by yelling.
That's when he turned on me. He told me I needed Jesus. I told him I loved Jesus with my whole heart. He told me to look at what I was wearing. ( black jeans, pink short sleeved shirt, with a white longsleeved shirt.) He stopped that vein of conversation very quickly and then and said that I think I'm better than Jewish people because Christians think that now they are God's chosen people and have taken the Jew's place. I told him that I didn't believe that. He asked if I knew of any time that the christian community tried to befriend the Jewish community. I told him just the week before, my church had a service together with a Jewish congregation in the city. He yelled back that he didn't mean for me to make them all feel good but that I needed to tell them about Jesus. I responded that you needed relationship for our words to mean anything... He just kept yelling.
I finally just shook my head and started to walk away. He kept yelling and said that not to walk away and was I afraid...
Meanwhile, my hubby had come up and started to defend me by arguing back. I appreciated that a lot but by that time, I was done with the noise and adamant attitudes...
I pulled him away and we continued our wonderful sightseeing in London.
I really did enjoy the experience but also went away with the knowledge that if someone believes something strongly enough that they will get up on a stepladder in Hyde Park, that you will not change their minds by arguing.
I also wondered how Jesus would have reacted to the whole scene. I could just see him walking from speaker to speaker, showing love and speaking truth.... What would their reactions have been to Him? Some would continue with their diatribes, but maybe some would really hear, really see... and follow Him.