Westboro Baptist Church fascinates me.
Though not a perfect metaphor, I liken this fascination to that with colorful characters on Survivor. And by colorful, I basically mean despicable.
I’m looking at you, RUSSELL HANTZ.
For those unfamiliar, Westboro Baptist Church lies at the geographic center of America: Nowheresville, Kansas. The church was started by Fred Phelps, and much of Westboro’s members consists of his family, with some vagabonds sprinkled in there too.
For years, I’ve watched interviews and read articles and been burdened by Westboro’s hateful signs and chants and protests. They’ve picketed countless US soldiers’ funerals and have basically told the entire world we’re all going to hell, so-called “Christians” included.
Essentially, Westboro and Westboro alone walks the way of salvation.
What’s fascinating is that every now and then, some of Westboro’s members leave. Or perhaps a more appropriate word might be “escape.” It’s happened several times over the years, most recently with Fred Phelps’s granddaughters: Megan Phelps-Roper and her sister Grace.
They left. Escaped.
Abandoned the shackles of hatred. Embraced freedom.
THIS young woman. THIS was Megan:
In all the YouTube clips I’d seen of her, I always thought Megan was a beautiful girl. And yet the hatred so thoroughly inundated over her face just made me sad. Made me yearn for her freedom.
And now she is. Free.
I recently recommended a triad of articles regarding Megan’s decision to leave. She still hasn’t revealed many overly detailed reasons for her and her sister’s abandonment, but I imagine she’ll tell that complete tale before too long.
Count me among the first who will read it.
It never gets old: seeing the captive set free. A beautiful young girl born into an inarguable cult, raised among pickets and protests. And then, some way, somehow, set free forever.
I love that. I love God. Love how He writes redemptive stories like this all the time.
We need to open our eyes to these stories more often. Need to tell those stories whenever and wherever we find them.
The world needs to hear. Desperately needs to know that a life-infusing God indeed exists.
Over the last several months I’ve been experiencing some gnarly visions that include the telling of those kinds of stories. It starts with my own this spring, and I long to capture and share others’ experiences with redemption, too.
There’s nothing better than freedom.
I hope you know that feeling today.
If you don’t, get in touch. Let’s talk.
In the meantime, follow Megan on Twitter and let’s support her courageous step into the Light. Leaving darkness behind.