I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38 (NRSV)
When Rollen Stewart decided to put on a giant rainbow wig and dance in front of the cameras at, like, every major sporting event, he wanted to hold a sign with a biblical reference on it to promote the faith. Rainbow Man, as he came to be called, wasn’t the first one to put John 3:16 up at a sporting event, but he was the one that made it famous.
And I wonder how things might have turned out differently for Rollen if he’d gone for Romans 8 to encapsulate the gospel instead. What if he’d just gone around telling people over and over that they were loved irrevocably, and left it at that?
In the end, the world disappointed Rainbow Man, as it always does those who demand assent to particular theological propositions. He launched a string of stink bomb attacks, kidnapped two people, barricaded himself in a hotel room near LAX, tried but failed to kidnap a third when the first two people got away, and then threatened to start shooting at planes coming in and out of the airport. All with John 3:16 posters stuck up over the windows.
I dunno. Maybe he would have done the same stuff no matter what part of the Bible he made his catchphrase. Maybe the issue for him was never actually theological. Maybe looking people in the eye and telling them, “God loves you irrevocably and nothing could ever make God stop,” wouldn’t have softened his own heart, wouldn’t have made it any harder to kidnap and threaten them. I dunno.
But let’s try telling everybody that anyway, and see what happens.
Let the only thing I preach, O God, be your love for your people. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.