On Wednesday a federal judge ruled that “preachers” are allowed to come back into Bentleyville. Steve Jankowski and Peter Scott won their motion to be let back into Bentleyville. “Preachers” were back in Bentleyville as soon as the judge ruled. The men also wanted the city to be held in contempt for denying an order from a year ago. This charge was not upheld. The Tour of Lights has certainly got more publicity than I am sure Mr. Bentley was hoping for.
In case you missed my thoughts about this case before the judge ruled I have attached a link. I really appreciate all your comments.
I would like to address these most recent developments, and a couple more important points.
First we keep hearing this word preach, but what does it actually mean? Dictionary.com defines preach: to proclaim or make known by sermon. What does proclaim and sermon mean? Again Dictionary.com defines proclaim: to announce or declare in a formal manner. The second part of this definition is more fitting. It says, to announce or declare in an open or ostentatious way. Sermon is defined: a discourse for the purpose of religious instruction or exhortation, especially one based on a text of Scripture and delivered by a member of the clergy as part of a religious service. After reading these definitions I would say these men aren’t preaching, proclaiming or providing a sermon.
Second as mentioned before there is a time and place for delivering such messages. I have no issue with people who want to share their beliefs in a civilized manner to those who want to listen whether it be Islam, Catholic, Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, Occupy Duluth, you get my point. What I do have a problem with is the yelling, condemning, to get your point across. People are not prone to listen and buy whatever someone is trying to “sell” by yelling. Let me give you an example. I recently had an interaction with an older gentlemen who was representing the Gideons. He respectfully in normal tones asked me if I wanted a Bible? I replied and he politely said thank you. He wasn’t pushy, loud, or demeaning. I believe this interaction is the most effective kind no matter what your message is.
Third, recent pictures circulating on the internet show a man wearing a sign that says “Fear God.” Now I’m not exactly sure if this man for a lack of a better term is “preaching” from the Bible, but the Bible I read preaches “God is love.” I John 4:8 says, “Who ever does not love God, does not know God, because God is love.” Does yelling portray love? The most known verse from the Bible and most influential verse is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world He sent His one and only Son, that who so ever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” To get your message across, show love not confrontation. Invite people to your place of worship where ever that may be. Be civil, it will help your cause instead of hurting it.
Last, I sure hope these recently problems in Bentleyville won’t cause the Tour of Lights to end. My attendance at Bentleyville has become a family tradition my family loves to attend every year. I hope court cases, motions, and people wanting to “preach” won’t cause this free attraction to end.