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Archive for October, 2017

TAKING A KNEE

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I admit I’m something of a political animal. I’m also ordained clergy in the Episcopal Church. Sometimes this gets dicey.

I would never advocate for or against a candidate from the pulpit.

I would never intentionally say anything that would hurt someone in the congregation.

However, I am also called to preach the Gospel and to follow Jesus, or “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” As are we all. We may need to take a knee, as in prayer, to figure this out.

Jesus, it seems, could be ruthless against the ruling class of his own Jewish faith: The Pharisees and the Sadducees. He called them hypocrites. He criticized their greed, their self-indulgence, their failure to have mercy and be just to the poor. He called them out for lying.

One of the Biblical statements used to justify “separation of church and state” is in this coming Sunday’s Gospel: “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.”

When it comes to church and state, Jesus tells us that everything is given us by God, and under the purview of God. Even Caesar, even government.

The church has a history of political advocacy: against slavery, for and against war (think World War II, Vietnam), against suppression of some people being denied full membership in the body of Christ by their sexual orientation. In fact, the church has led the way on some of these issues.

Today even professional football has been politicized to some degree. “Taking a knee” is criticized as being un-patriotic. Yet this is hardly a new method of protesting injustices against black people – which is what the action really is, rather than a blatant anti-US statement. I recently ran across the picture above from 1962. Interesting, isn’t it?

What is the church to do? Remain silent on the issues of the day? Walk some middle ground between saying something yet not offending anyone? Or doing what Jesus did? Is the church to be a spiritual refuge from the world – or something else? And as part of the church, what are you to do?

I have really loved researching the sermon for Sunday. I found out some fascinating things about money that have challenged me, inspired me, and scared me. On Sunday I will talk about them.

I’m still praying about the political thing…. I hope you are, too.

See you in church.

Barbara

Above: future congressman John Lewis (left) and others demonstrate at the swimming pool in Cairo, Illinois, which did not allow blacks. 1962.

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