well, now that holy week is over i still don't have time to write anything, but i decided i would take the time anyway.
so much has been going on in the world, but the thing i would make mention of (in the short time i have to write anything) is the whole fiasco surrounding the sermon soundbite that we've been hearing over and over again.
you know which one i'm talking about don't you?
there are a few things i would say about the whole thing. (and for the sake of this post i'm going to use the terms "pastor" and "preacher" to refer to all religious leaders, not just christian ones.)
the first thing is that the media does a terrible job of portraying any religion and if you form your opinon about one particular preacher, church member, or theology on a 30 soundbite on the news you are going to have the wrong opinion. i don't care who the preacher is, what religion he or she is from, what culture they come from, or what ugly words come out of their mouth. you will get it wrong. period. because i know that there are plenty of things i have said in my preaching that if put into a 30 second soundbite would make me look all kinds of bad.
i've heard lots of christian conservative leaders say far more horrible and offensive things than, "God damn America." and they have gotten far more air time than a 30 second soundbite. in fact some of them are now employed by 24 news stations as experts in religion and politics.
racism and every other ism is just plain bad for everyone. i think i mentioned this before. the only way to deal with isms is to get them out in the open and talk about them honestly. isms will still run people's lives, but at least if we talk about them openly and respectfully (which also means listening) we have a chance of making a difference.
as a pastor i think i have an important message to share. it's part of my job. it is a radical message and will offend people. love your neighbor, turn the other cheek, give to the poor... that's radical and offensive stuff because we are taught to mistrust our neighbor, fight back, and get as much stuff for ourselves as we possibly can. so why is it that the only time religion gets any press is when some clergy person has a gay affair, has a politican as a member of their organization, or issues a religious fatwah?
no one should be told that they should disown their pastor just because of something they said. pastors are human. sometimes we make huge mistakes in judgement, say things we shouldn't say, preach sermons that would have been better left unpreached. but many times we do significant things for people that make a difference in their lives.
no one should be judged based on something that their pastor said. we have our own opinons. i don't share all of mine with everyone, but certainly people can guess things like my political party by some of the things i share out loud on sunday mornings and in meetings and on other ocassions. but they are my opinions and i am not under any notion that everyone who attends my church is going to agree with all my opinions.
in order to hear the good news we also need to name the bad news. this is part of the preaching task. life isn't happy all the time. people are angry, hurt, suffering, and full of resentments. those things have to be put out in the open and named otherwise the good news is meaningless drivel.
and that's all i have time for right now.
God's peace y'all