As a youth leader I have worked with students for years on leading worship and occasionally we get the opportunity to lead worship for one of the adult services. Since they were old enough to stand on their own, my boys (ages 4 and 6 now) have stood up front with toy guitars in hand with me as we lead worship. And I recently experienced one of the proudest moments of my parenting life as my youngest spent a week learning a song to sing with me. I’m sure he drove my wife nuts as he listened to “I Can Only Imagine” over and over in the car, making sure to learn every word.
I never practiced with him, I didn’t even know if he could do it, but he knew he could. So at the end of the service, after the sermon was done I knelt down next to him on the stage with my mic in hand as the band began. Without missing a beat he jumped in and we sang the entire song together. His childish voice echoing mine. I’m sure the congregation could tell by my grin this was one of the proudest moments of my life; and it was for him as well. Whenever he hears the song on the radio he makes sure he tells me.
So this morning I saw the video of the young boy in Indiana singing in front of his church “Ain’t no homo’s gonna go to heaven“, to which he received a standing ovation from the congregation. As I watch the video I don’t notice the little boy, but I notice the pastor (or father) in the background beaming with pride. Knowing what was to come and how much time he had likely spent coaching the child, he was giddy with enthusiasm.
I’m not writing this as support for or against homosexuality, but as a parent who is struggling with raising children who love and respect others. It broke my heart yesterday to find that my son had been picking on one of his special needs classmates for two days. We had always been so proud of him for being a nurturer and somewhat of a mother hen to those who need his help. And as I tucked him in bed we talked about how “sad it makes dad when we don’t treat people nice”. He understands those things as he has some special needs, my wife works with special needs children, and I am a youth leader who strives to treat everyone with love and respect despite how irritating they are.
I’m saddened at the enthusiastic reaction of the congregation and the how this innocent moment will shape the child’s life. I see a bully in the making and the proud parent who will support them. There is enough hate and animosity in this world as adults wage war on each other for senseless causes. Leave the children out of it.