What Didn’t Make the Cut
July 1, 2018
A twenty-minute sermon necessitates that some ideas and quotes fall to the ground of the cutting room floor. Below are some of those which didn’t quite make it past the first round from this last Sunday.
I am an avid reader. It is a significant part of my profession and a hobby. I am pleased when an author shares an idea that stimulates a new way of looking at something or an idea for a sermon. Tom Krattenmaker in his book, “Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower: Finding Answers in Jesus For Those Who Don’t Believe,” presented me a seed that germinated within me and eventually grew into this last’s Sunday sermon. The text was Matthew 5:43, “Love your enemies.” Below is some of his thoughts as well as gems from others that didn’t make the cut.
In society we value competition and winning. This has spilled over into politics. Our opposition became our enemy. Victory is valued more than the process of governing.
Jesus focused on deep politics – changing the underlying climate and context; the content of people’s hearts and minds.
Christian’s frequently speak of “Hating the sin and loving the sinner.” If we understand sin as ideas or policies rather than an act by a human being, we can hate the sin (important and divisive issues that impact all of humanity, ex. Clean water and adequate food supply).
Jesus was against the practices of tax collectors of his time who exploited the poor. Jesus did not abide the abuse and exploitation. He hated the hate, not the hater.
“In Sports, Rivals Are Opponents. In Politics, They’re Too Often Enemies”
Sport’s biases are relatively benign. Our sporting rivals are opponents, not enemies. Our teams may differ, but we are all invested in the same game. Our engagement, at the very least, proves we care, a “love of the game.”
Political discussions feel like zero-sum contests of winning or losing. Nuance and reason are benched.
As the followers of Jesus began to reach out to the gentiles, their exclusive tribalness of being God’s special people was challenged. The gentiles could no longer be their or God’s enemy. Let us commit to not allowing our opponent to become our enemy. For if we do, we risk allowing our enemy shape our very existence. We tend to become what we hate. Remember, every enemy is a neighbor and every neighbor has the potential to be an enemy.
If you would like to hear what made the cut, visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/beatitudesradio/2018/07/03/gathering-36-when-a-win-is-a-loss to hear the sermon.
Rev. Tony Minear, PhD. is the Lead Pastor at Church of the Beatitudes a Progressive Christian Church based in Phoenix AZ.
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