Ask Me About My Jesus: A Response to Traveling Preachers

Preacher on Risman Plaza, Sept 28. Photo by Gerald Biggerstaff

University has been visited by two different, nameless and possibly churchless groups of traveling preachers in just the last two weeks alone, who always share the stereotypical message of “These people are going to Hell.” As one would suspect, homosexuals are at the top of the list, with a newer addition of Muslims (which, by the way, is a view that the Bible never states in any verses; the first group added this category to their own inflammatory list). 

A preacher's sign at Risman Plana. Sept 28, 2016.

A preacher’s sign at Risman Plana. Sept 28. Photo by Gerald Biggerstaff.

As a Christian first and a gay man second, seeing these preachers appear in the Risman Plaza always makes my blood boil. So many questions whirl around my head when I see their signs that they hold so proudly. The biggest one is, do these people truly care about helping me and others here at KSU? Or are they simply here to provoke a reaction?

Now, I wouldn’t dare have the audacity to question if these men sincerely love God. Their relationship with Him is none of my business. But I have seen and heard evidence at their recent appearances that what they’re spreading is pushing people away from God, instead of leading them to Him. To me, that’s one of the gravest sins you could ever commit. 

Political Science student, Rajat Manan, argues with a preacher. Sept 28. Photo by Gerald Biggerstaff.

Political Science student, Rajat Manan, argues with a preacher. Sept 28. Photo by Gerald Biggerstaff.

What all of us need, including the KSU community and the general student population, is for these people to offer us Godly help instead of harsh condemnation that further solidifies their negative perceptions of who God is. 

Protesters display a "Gays for Jesus" sign.

Protesters display a “Gays for Jesus” sign. Sept 28. Photo by Gerald Biggerstaff.

For example, especially with midterms lurking around the corner for us students, our stress levels could potentially skyrocket, and bring with them various mental health issues. Instead of constantly inferring that God despises us through the selected verses used to promote their own beliefs (which could be their way of attempting to garner attention from the community), these preachers could choose a much more soothing Bible passage, such as the following:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

There is no burden too great for Jesus to take on, and mental health is no exception. God’s goal isn’t to terrify us into submission as some missionaries have tried to do in the past. Rather, He wants to offer us all a true, perfect way of finally casting away all of our guilt, stress and anxiety for what the future may hold. This is what Kent State students, especially those who may have been harmed by in the past, need to hear in order for them to draw closer to God.

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