It turns out that hot, shirtless jogger who invaded the internet via a local Chicago news report this week is no stranger to standing out in the cold soliciting attention.
Ethan Renoe, who made everyone watching parched when he announced he was single, founded a ministry that in part targets gay bar goers to engage in some good old fashioned Christian prayer.
The former Moody Bible Institute student’s ministry, Free Prayer Chicago, sets up outposts of members — regardless of weather — outside of busy nightlife areas holding signs that say “free prayer.”
The group has been active for the last four years.
An article on the school’s website explains how Renoe founded the movement:
“Ethan and a friend were out walking around the city when they felt an urging to interact with the hundreds of people their age who were out in the popular night-life district of Chicago,” the article said. “When they grabbed a pizza box and scrawled the message, they did not realize they were starting a ministry.”
The group is quick to point out that they aren’t anti-gay, though their message is often misinterpreted as such. They’ve had passersby curse and even spit at them.
“Westboro Baptist is nearly the antithesis of what we are. Our message is a message of grace through faith. It doesn’t matter how far you have fallen, Christ loved you enough to die for you to set you free,” the group’s current leader, Noah Reynolds, said when asked about any similarities with WBC.
Then again, they aren’t exactly pro-gay either.
“Some people come at us angrily, but I can understand that because that community is their stronghold and that’s where their identity lies and they feel like we’re attacking it, but that’s before they talk to us,” said student Andy Wood. “Regardless of lifestyle decisions we have the same opportunity to share the gospel and love people.”
Which “lifestyle decisions” are you referring to there, Andy?
If you care to find out any more about the (super judgy if you ask us) group, here’s a handy video starring Renoe himself: