Here is an interesting and sad article: Church group faces off against another over subsidized gas.
Thanks goes to Todd at Monday Morning Insight for the link.
My church plant has given away money at the gas pumps before. We usually do it two to three times a year, but we have never gotten this response. To be quite honest, my first response would be to confront these people or call the police. But my cooler side would hold off because that would have me lowering myself to their standard. Beside it wouldn't be much of a witness to the people protesting or the unchurched who are attending church for the first time to see the pastor of the new church beating some old man to a pulp.
I can't believe that a church would protest another church. (That is more sarcastic, I can believe it.) I think the one lady is right, there are more important things to protest. It sounds like they do protest a lot, though. Just probably not much that matters. This isn't much different from that church in Topeka.
I think these are the kinds of things and people Jesus was most upset about. His harshest criticisms were not toward sinners, but toward religious leaders who hindered sinners from coming to God. They stood in the way.
It is interesting that one of the protesters references the passage about God's house being a house of prayer. The merchants and money-changers were doing business in the Court of the Gentiles. The issue was not whether they were selling goods in the church. The merchandise they were selling was needed for Temple worship. It wasn't necessarily that they were cheating people (though they probably were. Capitalism is not a new concept.) The issue is that the Court of the Gentiles was the only area where Outsiders could come to pray, and the religious leaders put their needs over those of the seekers.
The Temple, with its merchants, did not allow Gentiles a place to pray. That was the issue. It wasn't about Capitalism, it was about providing a place for seekers to find God.