Yesterday I heard an amazing testimony to God's love, as well as an example of remaining calm in the midst of an anxiety producing storm.
My former bishop, The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth Jr. of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, found himself with a Cleveland "shock jock" who had mocked the bishop's (and the diocese's) statement:
"God loves you. No exceptions."
The broadcast does a good job setting up the circumstances that led to the bishop being in studio.
Mark was simply remarkable despite being cut off and provoked over and over again (especially in the beginning of the "conversation"). He never raised his voice and never responded with anger, while all the time demonstrating a strong sense of mission to proclaim the surprising love of God.
You can listen to the broadcast here.
The comments from the listeners are rather appreciative of the bishop.
Lynda Bernays wrote: "Thank you, Bishop Hollingsworth, for stating so clearly, over and over, that God loves us. You are a voice of radical welcome and acceptance in a world that has way too much rejection and hatred -- everyone needs to know that God's love is ever-present, and through that, our love survives (no matter what)."
Jane Russell Freeman wrote: "I so appreciate hearing Bishop Hollingsworth's non-reactive, calm proclamation of God's love with a very provocative radio interviewer. His responses were a model for us all."
Mimi Moore wrote: "I think that the hosts of this show, by the sound of their voices, slowly began to respect both the Bishop, and the message. They used better tones, more respectful language, and that shows they started to turn towards the message rather than turning away from it."
Torey Lightcap, rector of St. Thomas in Sioux City, Iowa, was struck by these sobering words of the bishop: "What I don't want is for my resentment and vengeance to take over my life."
And last (and perhaps least) I commented on the site:
"Bishop Hollingsworth was a remarkable presence here, which I'm grateful for..."
(A version of this appeared on Episcopal Cafe's The Lead)