A Letter of Love to the Rev. Fred Phelps

Dear Fred,

May the peace of Jesus Christ be with you always.

Your work in the name of the God of Love and Life begs me to ask you if there is more than one God in the Christian tradition? As I reflect on your crusades I find myself asking whether your consuming hatred is really a public cry for help. By this I mean are you telling us that you have lost your relationship with God? For, if this is so I would like to pray with you about this. I would like to hold you before God and ask that you risk returning to God by allowing God’s unconditional love to enter and fill your life.

Fred as you would have heard many times “God is love.” If God is love and we are in relationship with God then we will know love. Love as you know makes all things possible. Believes all things, sees all things. Love creates the conditions for faith and hope which are the foundations for trusting relationships.

Where is your God of love? Where is your God who loved you into being? Where is your God who knows you so intimately? Who knows you and calls you by name? Have you lost that God? Have you been so hurt and frightened by living that you have turned your back on God? Are you so caught up in the need to believe in conspiracies that you have forgotten that no matter what, God is your companion, your strength and your guide?

As a Christian and a pastor I ask myself how I can for you? I fear that my anger with you for what you say and do to my brothers and sisters will prevent me from holding you in love. This is a tension that I will however have to live with.Your hatred of lesbian, gay and trasngendered people comes from what I could best describe as your broken relationship with God which is I believe the cause of great scandal within the Christian church. Your public acting out of your loss of faith is a sad indictment of a tradition that has love as its single guide. From your actions I can only conclude that you have given up on God and chosen the gods of despair and fear.

Yet God still loves you. That is why I must love you. Even though I am in pain in my love. I must if I am to be true to my relationship with God love you all the more. I must risk your disdain and hatred and give you my unconditional caring. I must seek continually to invite you into mutual relationship. For it seems that you have lost God. The God of life who created you, and loves you into being waits patiently for you to come home. This is your God and my God Fred. We cannot escape this. No matter how far off track we might both go this is the God to whom one way or another we all will return. You will be in paradise with all the saints Fred. Gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, transgender the whole wonderful diversity of God’s loved creation. How will you respond then?

It’s not too late Fred! It’s never to late to have a change of heart and use the energy you pour into hatred to turn it into love. To show our world that God’s love is always the deciding point in anyone’s life. To show us how evil can be turned into pure love. Imagine our world if you used your energies to build God’s reign rather than destroy it. Imagine how we could all work together to understand each other and replace fear with love and hope.

You have wished me and others like me dead. You have publicly preached this hate in God’s name. You have taken the words of Jesus and make them obscene. Yet the one you wish dead writes to you out of care for you. Out of love to gently correct you and ask you to come home to Love. I will not allow hatred to rule my life. I will not allow fear to mock me and cause me to become less than I am meant to be. My one true and sure foundation is in the God of life whose love knows no bounds. Whose love releases all fear, in whose name I am made whole.

Fred the art of living the Christian life is nothing other than practising the companionship of God. To know God as protector, friend and guide. Let us ask our Guide to walk with us as we find a way out of the loneliness of isolation and despair. I look forward to the day when we can sit down together and share a fellowship meal. Where we can celebrate the ending of sorrow and sadness. Again Fred I remind you that God does live and dwell in us. That we are God’s people both you and I and all the others that you think you despise. I believe that God speaks constantly to all us saying over and over “I am with you”. When we finally truly hear this message you and I, and all your lesbian and gay sisters and brothers will surely know release from crying, sadness and pain.

Your brother in Christ,

Rev. Tim Collier
Melbourne, Australia