What didnt make the cut: Incarceration
What Didn’t Make the Cut
July 8, 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.
My goal this past Sunday was to help us realize that our view of God, which is frequently tied to our view of and how we read the Bible, shapes us and society consciously and unconsciously. I chose to illustrate by examining the mass incarceration that is present today. Below our ideas and thoughts which didn’t make it into the sermon.
* While the harsh Old Testament laws are frequently evoked to support a retributive ideology, harsher sentencing practices, and defend retributive justice, there is strong evidence to show that these laws were rarely and, in some cases, never applied literally. Astounding. Jewish law’s priorities were: (1) restitution, (2) rehabilitation, (3) and spiritual realignment. Prison as a form of punishment was virtually non-existent.
* Two purposes of punishment:
1. Inflict pain for its own sake = retribution
2. Inflict punishment to achieve some positive results = rehabilitation
Aside: what is our purpose in punishing our children?
* Are criminals now seen as undeserving of help and by nature incapable of reform? If yes, it makes sense to lock them up and throw away the key (3 strikes and you’re out).
* Are human beings capable of exacting perfect retribution? Some Jewish Rabbi’s leave that to God.
* How does the mere fact that a person deserves punishment justify punishing him/her?
If you would like to hear what made the cut, visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/beatitudesradio/2018/07/10/gathering-37-incarceration-from-a-christian-perspective 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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