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I don’t know about you, but I don’t know how to preach without being political. When the latest tragedy: be it gun violence, a natural disaster or the latest racist incident comes to pass I can’t not address it. Just picking the text for the day is a political act. Am I contending with the racism overtones of Ezra? Or dealing with the deep depression that seems to be part and parcel of the Psalms? Then there are the holidays. Do we mention the national holiday of Father’s Day, or that it’s Mental Illness Month or that its a socio-politically charged holiday of Independence Day and the like?
I once had a congregant call me to request that I never ever preach on politics. I had to work hard not to laugh in response. What should I preach on then? The joke about Trinity Sunday is an apt one. Want to preach an unoffensive and theologically sound sermon? The clear solution is to not preach at all and to instead show cute photos of puppies and kittens.
Response - Congregant - Job - Church - Place
In response to this congregant, I tried to explain that my job was to make church a safe place to discuss different hopes, theologies and beliefs. That if we made a church where we couldn’t discuss sex, drugs, rock and roll and politics then we weren’t really doing much.
And sometimes I do preach the equivalent of puppies and kittens, I talk about the beauty of the earth or I preach a feel good sermon about what it is the church is doing today. But that choice is a political choice as much as writing a prophetic social justice sermon is. And hopefully, at least, my sermons provide a wide range of topics and conversations. And hopefully, above all else, my sermon makes you think about...
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